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Regional subcultures and mass preferences regarding candidate traits in the US

Carman, Christopher J. and Barker, David C. (2010) Regional subcultures and mass preferences regarding candidate traits in the US. Regional and Federal Studies, 20 (4-5). pp. 515-526. ISSN 1359-7566

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Abstract

Regional variation in state orientations toward politics has long been a feature of the United States. Yet while this regional variation has received a great deal of empirical scrutiny at the aggregate level, finding clear and distinct differences in the adoption and implementation of policies across the states based on their dominant political subculture, there has been far less empirical scrutiny given to the underlying foundation of these policy differences—namely shared individual level orientations toward politics. In this brief paper we discuss the empirical evidence supporting the major classification of US political subcultures, that offered by Daniel Elazar. We then explore mass preferences regarding what types of personality traits are seen as most desirable for political candidates to hold – an important dimension in US presidential politics – finding clear regional variation across Elazar’s individualistic, moralistic and traditionalistic cultures.